Discovering Story Magic
I'm definitely a plotter and a planner when it comes to my writing. At the first RWA Conference I attended in Reno, before I was published, I went to several workshops to try to find a craft method that would help me plot my books. Somehow I missed the Discovering Story Magic workshop given by Robin Perini and Laura Baker, but I stumbled across it in the handouts that I perused after the Conference. As soon as I read through the material and looked at the examples, I knew I had found a home.
A year or so after finding the DSM materials and adapting them to my writing, I found out that Robin and Laura offered the DSM class online. I wasted no time in signing up for an online week-long class that allowed us to bring current WIPs to the discussion table. One of the movies Robin and Laura use as an example is L.A. Confidential (great movie and wonderful example for their method). Robin and Laura switch off between topics/classes and are available to answer questions and review your writing as you apply the DSM techniques. The class was even more helpful than using the handouts on my own and allowed me to put the materials to better use.
I love the way this method works - begins with the characters and the inciting incident for the story, their short/long term goals, their character flaws, relationship barrier, black moment and realization. So the story builds from within the characters, which is essential for romance, and supplies you with turning points that grow from the characters instead of contrived scenes that come out of left field.
I always follow some aspect of DSM when I plan a book. If you're interested in finding out more about DSM, visit the website the DSM Website.
Are there any plotting methods you can't live without? Any recommendations for classes or great workshops you attended at a writers' conference? Would love to hear about them. You never know when something's going to click with you!